Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shrimp Creole

OK, it happened accidentally.

I did NOT want to go to the grocery store today. I also did NOT want to eat chicken for dinner.

I started early (10:00 AM) thinking about and looking for something new to cook, and it could only involve things that we already had in our pantry and fridge.

I found it about 10:30 in my Betty Crocker cookbook—Shrimp Creole.

I checked our cooking inventory and guess what? We had all of the stuff already in stock, but of course "I" couldn’t just use the simple Betty Crocker recipe.

With the idea in mind, next I did a Google search and found this incredibly elaborate recipe and this slightly more realistic listing of ingredients. The only problem was that both recipes (and most of the others I found) made enough food for 6 or 8 people…

I’m cooking for only two people, remember?

So here is what you need to do what I did tonight:

2 tbsp corn oil (I was out of olive oil...AAAHHHH)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour (plus a little more in case you need it)

½ colored bell pepper (I used red) diced
¼ Vidalia onion, diced
¼ red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced

15 oz can diced tomatoes
7 oz can tomato sauce (no salt)
15 oz can chicken broth

½ pound (about 10 or 12) medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

And finally, some store- bought or home-made Creole seasoning. (I made my own in a big batch.)

Here is what I did with all of the above stuff to make a hearty dinner for two:

First, peal and de-vein your shrimp if you didn’t buy them that way. Toss them in a bowl, squeeze a little lemon juice over them, a dash of Worcestershire, add a tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with your Creole seasoning. Toss the shrimp to coat evenly and refrigerate them while they (the shrimp) swim around and get all tasty and comfortable.

Next I made what my Cajun friends would call a “blond” roux.

To do this, heat a small skillet on the stovetop over medium low heat, melt your butter, add your 2 tbsp of oil, and sprinkle in your flour until it is all mixed together. Now stand at the stove and pay attention, stirring virtually continuously as the mixture browns and thickens. Watch the temperature—you burn it—you start all over from scratch.

Cook your roux for at least 15 or 20 minutes, until it is a nice blond color.

Now turn off the heat and let your roux cool down while you dice your vegetables. Using a large, heavy skillet, splash in a bit of vegetable oil and add your onion. Sautee the onion for 10 or 15 minutes.

Now add the celery and bell pepper to the skillet with your onion and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

After the vegetables are cooked, spoon in your “blond” roux and splash in a bit of chicken broth, along with the diced tomatoes, and the tomato sauce. Also add 1 teaspoon of your Creole Seasoning

Redneck Tip: Add more seasoning if you want, but be careful now...don't hurt yourself...

Crank up the heat to medium and bring things to a low simmer. If you have the time to cook, why not thin things out real good with the rest of the chicken stock, but allow at least 45 minutes to cook things back down nice and thick. Turn the heat down to medium low and keep a lid on your skillet to slow things down a little.

Now let me ask you a question: “You know how to make rice?”

You do?

Well make yourself a batch—instant or whatever. I made a couple of cups worth of Mahatma brand.

When the Creole sauce has cooked down to the consistency of a thin gravy, pull your shrimp out of the fridge and toss them into the mix for ten or fifteen minutes. By the way--taste your sauce.

Does it need anything?

Well add it then--it's your dinner.

Make sure that you stir it all up real good. When you are satisfied with the results (or too hungry to wait any longer), dip out some rice into a bowl, ladle some sauce and shrimp on top, slice up a Baggett to dip, and EAT.

Enjoy Y’all,

The Redneck Gourmet


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